Marketing's Role in Workplace Design

The more I read and learn about corporate workplace design, the more I’m fascinated by the research and analysis that goes into the development of a design and the reasons why certain materials, colors, textures, furniture, fixtures, etc. are proposed and/or selected.

But, as I delve deeper into this subject matter, the former marketing professional in me starts to wonder and ask, what’s marketing’s role in all this? Does marketing even have a role? While there is little doubt that a company’s marketing team plays a major role in the development of retail store design, shouldn’t marketing also have a say in the design of the company’s workplace?

At a time when the interactive experience between customer and brand has become the focal point of most any marketing strategy or mix, regardless of marketing vehicle or medium (e.g., traditional/digital, in-store/out-of-home, mobile/experiential), for the two reasons below, this “experience” should also play out in the corporate workplace, and why marketing needs to be involved in the design process. 

The first reason deals with people external to the company, such as clients, prospects, service providers and/or talent recruits. When these people visit a company’s workplace they should feel an immediate sense of the brand and its persona (i.e., personality, attitude, mission, vision, essence, aspirations, etc.) through the design of the workplace. This goal or objective is very much the same as when a marketing team works to project an impression of the brand and its persona through a commercial, brochure, website, event, package, mobile app, etc. The only difference is the medium which, in this case, is the physical location of the company’s office space.  

The second reason deals with people internal to the company, the employees themselves. Because employees are often viewed as the greatest of brand ambassadors, it stands to reason that the brand and its persona should be a part of the very environment which surrounds employees from day to day – the corporate workplace. Sure the placement and use of corporate logos, names and colors works to personify the brand but, in reality, this thought process is too simplistic. Brands have many different layers, components and complexities, and it’s only through the design of the entire space, by way of lighting, shapes, materials, colors, fixtures, accessories, layouts, etc., can the brand and its persona be brought to life within the confines of the workplace.

Based on the above, it should be easy to recognize that marketing, the group that created the brand and its persona to begin with, really needs to be included in the workplace design process from the onset. Anything less than this, and a company does itself a disservice and will fail to capitalize and/or leverage its full brand value and potential.

Roger Marquis, AIA Associate, Business Development Director

Roger Marquis, AIA Associate, Business Development Director